Live by the FunK

Flickr Photo by Michael Tapp https://www.flickr.com/photos/59949757@N06/8720840260/
Flickr Photo by Michael Tapp 

I first met DāM-FunK at Cinespace in LA some time in 2007. He was something I never saw before, a funked out space alien with turntables, shouting out the names of $200 records as he played for a crowd of hipsters. Well, the man, a former Inglewood hip-hop keyboardists, now key-tarist, has made some big strides in his career and is the modern day incarnation of a funk artists. And instead of playing for other people at Cinespace,  he has his own long running L.A. residency called Funkmosphere.

I caught up with DāM-FunK before he stopped in Houston (for those taking notes, si…I’m in Houston now, but more on that later.)  Here’s what we talked about. Full interview at Houston Press.

Rocks Off: So what happened after you saw that tweet about modern funk, and why was it incorrect in your opinion?
DāM-FunK: One of the guys on Twitter was like “Nah, you can’t forget about Dam-Funk.” So, it’s like it caused a little lightening storm a couple of days ago and I watched it. I would hope that people, the historians, writers and critics can keep the facts straight because now they’re going to try to use “modern funk” as the term now, because they know they can’t say neo-soul any more.

And I just hope that people don’t forget about some of the funk that really is happening with synthesizers, drum machines, and beautiful chords. It’s not the chicken scratch type style of funk or soul that was considered modern funk. So the guy from Jimmy Fallon’s show, he incorrectly is trying to change history — innocently if you will — because I think right now people are just do excited that D’Angelo dropped this record.

Continue reading “Live by the FunK”

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Code Switching and You Still Got the Juice

I really enjoy the code switching going on here, I mean,  I’ve never heard Ye talk in his “corporate” voice. I might be one of the only guys in the world who didn’t listen to his last  album all the way through. I was a huge fan of that early mixtape work though. Can never take anything away from this man. I’ll even call My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy an early classic.

His mention of Walt Disney as an idol? OK. I guess he knows the history on that figure.

All in all, I’m impressed with what he’s done in his life. Keep it up, Ye.

Lord Finesse Interview Circa 2006

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Lord Finesse.

A “rap icon” is the lazy way to describe his contributions to the game.

I dug up this 2006 interview I did with the man. This early in my hip-hop writing career, I wasn’t able to decode a 1 hour plus interview. Focus, man…

In this scratchy, rambling interview I’m playing a character that I could best describe as Ralph McDaniel’s ugly step son.

Finesse talks about Dr. Dre, and I ask him about Ice-T.

He talks about Japanese hip-hop friends.

He goes in on Fat Beats Records, and talks about the craft of rap.

Serious rap nerds will get something out of this. I sure thank the guy for the material.

Check out part two after the jump…

Continue reading “Lord Finesse Interview Circa 2006”

Rapper Prodigy talks ‘Infamous’ book publishing

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The first time I had a chance to interview Prodigy of Mobb Deep, was during his solo run on the heels of releasing “Return of the Mac,” his second solo album.

It was during a time when everyone was releasing albums on Koch. Some kind of savior of b-grade rappers everywhere. But I never thought of “P” as a second-tier success. His work in the 90s was the precursor to the cocaine raps of the 2000s.

He’s been around longer than you think, having appeared on the “Boyz n the Hood” (1991) soundtrack with the group Hi-Five when he was still signed to Jive Records.

That first interview was a bust. It was “nah meens” and one-word answers. The kind of stuff I wasn’t equipped for, really. Its sucked. I was writing the piece for The Smoking Section and I think it sucked so bad that it got scrapped. That just gives you an idea of how ill it was.

What follows is the third time I’ve chopped it with Albert Hughes, aka Prodigy. He’s into book publishing and trying to go for more grown-man prospects in the business.

He served a few years in jail and you can tell that time has matured him. He’s on his business grind and celebrating a 20 year anniversary as part of what’s probably one of the greatest rap duos to come out of Queens.

How did you come up with the idea to write a novella?

It took me two months with my laptop and I banged it out. I banged out the beginning, middle and the end. I wrote it in 1999. It was sitting around until last year. I was looking for a new book to put out since my autobiography. I said, let me get somebody to turn it into a book.

So, I reached out to Steve Sevill. He’s got the slang from out there (England). He said he was interested in getting it done. He sent it back to me, in about a month. He added little things to the story.

I was trying to do different things. I was trying to connect with somebody new.

Afro-Mentalist

Inspiring that people like my old material. The response to my last post wasn’t overwhelming by any stretch, but I can tell from the stats that a few people took it upon themselves to pass my link around. Hip-hop heads no doubt.

It was hip-hop that got me to get my pen game on nearly 4 years ago. Never thought I had a real journalist in me. Had my heart set somewhat on Hollywood. That’s how I ended up in L.A. in the first place. But two people, no, three people, helped spark a fire that once it was lit….you know the rest.

One of those folks was my former editor at the Source magazine, the other still writes for the L.A. Times, and the third one, man, let’s just say the third guy should really be the first mentioned, because he gave me the interview I’m posting here.

I got my first audience for anything resembling journalism via a guy named John Gotty. Far from the Italian Don, this bespecled Tennessee Web junky turned a tiny blog into an Internet powerhouse called The Smoking Section. He found me goofing off in the comments section and thought I had a way with words. A few weeks later he gave me a phone number to a DJ JAMAD.
It wasn’t my first TSS interview, but man, it was a doozy. I think this transcript was only the first half of an almost 3 hour interview, you can see that this was my working copy, the Q’s change to TSS somewhere near the bottom. I hope only the most faithful to the art form make it all the way through this. It exists in another form somewhere on the TSS website, but this is my unedited version.

DJ Jamad interview: July 2006

Q: Is Afromentals your main mixtape series?

J: Yeah, it’s the main series I got going on right now. It’s so popular that it’s pretty much become the main series that I work on.

Q: How many volumes do you have?

J: I got about 28 volumes.

Q: I sampled about 4 of them. What’s the concept behind those? You’re picking from so many different areas of music.

J: Some of them are based on themes, others are based on the type of music I have.

Q: Some are based on themes?

J: Yeah, like “Binkis Mode” was collaboration between me and this group Binkis Recs, which is a rap group on Bobbito Garcia’s Fruit Meat label. Basically, they’re some local MCs that I know. We were gonna make a smooth version of a hiphop cd, but it was gonna be more on some love songs-type hiphop. But it didn’t work out because those guys were on tour. So it turned out to be more of a soulful, R&B, slow…almost like a boning CD. Some late-night type stuff.

Q: Baby-making music?

J: It was supposed to be a hiphop/soul slow-groove cd, but it turned into something else. There was actually a concept there, but it turned into something else.

Another cd I had was called “Coffee Crush.” I had a crush on this chick named Coffee, the cd was inspired by this chick that I liked so I made the cd around her.

And “Afro Blues,” that’s volume 13, there was this chick I was dealing with and it was not a good relationship, and it had me going through all kinds of changes. There’s another cd I had with my son on the cover called “Afromatic” which I do with DJ Drama. Basically, his series was called “Automatic Relaxation” and we chopped up both titles to where we made a double CD. It covers volumes 14, 15 and 17.

Q: Where can we find your CDs?

J: There’s mom and pop stores in Atlanta that carry them. You can find them at mixunit.com, baylostore.com, digital-djs.com, and tastefullicks.com.

Q: How did the whole relationship with DJ Drama and Aphilliates come about?

J: All of them went to school together, like Don Cannon, OX. But the thing is we all live here and we all in the same circle of people. Me and Drama used to use the same artist, this dude named H2O. He used to design our cd covers. I would run into Drama over at dude’s house.

Q: What year?

J: This is before I became a part of the Affiliates. I was already Djing. See, I’m from Allentown, PA. I don’t want people to think I’m from Philly. Philly is like 45 mins from where I’m from.

Q: Right.

J: I’ve been in Atlanta since ’87. Then I went into the military for 5 years, and then I came back in ’94. I think I met Drama back in ’96 or ’97.

Q: You go to Desert Storm?

J: I didn’t go to Iraq. I went to the U.K. I was in the medical field. Actually, I joined the Air Force, because I wanted to avoid the frontline. My family didn’t want me to be placed on the frontlines.

Q: No doubt. A lot of brothers on the frontlines.

J: I guess the Air force is supposed to be more prestigious. It would be something when I got out I would be able to have a job on the outside, versus working on some missiles or something like that. You’re kind of limited trying to find jobs in ammunitions. I pretty much went into the medical field, got my training, and that’s where I did most of my DJing.

Q: That’s where you built your skills?

J: Yeah, I was cleaning teeth and I was DJing every weekend. Especially when I went over to Germany.

Q: For real?

J: I started DJing in ’87, so when I joined the military in ’89, my first party might have been like in 1990. My first DJ gig in a club.

Q: Where was this?

J: I was in Missouri. This place called Knob Noster, MO, it’s Whiteman Air Force Base. I was DJing there first. Then I went to Rammstein, Germany. What it is, you would have NCO clubs on base. And then outside of the base there would be local clubs I would DJ at.

Q: Germany had a hiphop scene back then?

J: Yeah, yeah. Everything you listened to over here, it would be over there. It’s no different. They sell the same music over there, but it’s imported over there. I was buying my records in NY and have them sent overseas. What really got me into the music I do now is that I was exposed to so many people with different taste in music in the military and also being in the economy over there you’re exposed to different types of music. In England, they play a lot of soul music; they have a deep appreciation for soul music and real R&B music. During the day on the radio you’ll hear soul music, all that stuff. In the states it’s more political, more payola.

Q: What part of U.K. were you stationed?

J: I was in this little town called Fairford and it was near Swindon. It might have been like 30 mins from London.

Q: What did you think meeting your first black person with a British accent?

J: It was different to hear them talk like that. But it was neat to me. Growing up in Pennsylvania, I was already around a lot of different ethnic groups, you know. In Allentown, PA, there’s a heavy Latino population. It’s right down from NY.

Q: And because of the steel mills in Bethlehem? Right.

J: Yeah, you familiar with the area. It was a good place for me to grow up. But as far as now, I just couldn’t live there. It just seems kind of racist.

Q: More so than when you were young?

J: To be honest, I’d rather live in the South, than live up there.

Q: Where do you call home?

J: Decatur, G.A. It’s like 5 mins from Downtown Atlanta.

Q: I’ve heard about it in songs.

J: Decatur is a great place, man. Some good people live here. It’s an old city. I like the culture here. Atlanta is actually a great city. There’s a lot of transplants from all over the United States: West Coast, Chicago, Houston, Florida–all over. The hospitality is one thing that I liked a lot. When I moved down here I didn’t realize how cold people were up north. The hospitality is unreal. You’ll pull over next to somebody and they look at you from their car, and they’re like waving at you. At first it was kind of awkward, because when you’re up North, you’re defensive.

Q: It’s like you’re more on guard.

J: You know? You make eye contact and they like “Hey what’s up?” “What’s up.” It’s funny because I went back up North and I tried to do the same thing and people were looking at me like I was crazy. This is a different type of culture up here. I gotta remember where I’m from….and where I live.

Q: You said you went to ATL in ’87?

J: I relocated with my family down here.

Q: You been out there for a min?

J: I’ve been here for a while, man. Most of my roots are up North. I moved down here when I was 18. Five years of that’s been travelling to Germany, Midwest and stuff like that.

Q: So the “Aphiliates” comes from the fact that the crew is made up of DJs who grew up in Philly?

J: The main people that organized the Aphiliates were DJs Sense, Drama and Don Cannon.

Q: Ok.

J: So, basically, what happened was when they built their crew, they asked me, this other DJ Ox Banga and Jaycee to become a part of the crew. There’s other people that are involved with the group, outside of DJs that are an important part of the Aphiliates.

Q: Rappers?

J: There’s rappers like Willie the Kid, LA the Darkman, the Replacements (sp?).

Q: LA the Darkman from Wu-Tang?

J: Yeah.

Q: How’d you guys hook up with him?

J: I think Cannon. That woud be a whole other interview. You would have to interview Cannon.

Q: We’ll get to him down the line.

J: The thing that makes the Aphiliates such a good thing is so much talent…in one organization, one group of people. Because the thing is, I’m like my own brand in and of itself.

Q: Explain your brand within your pool of DJs.

J: My speciality is hip hop, soul, and music that’s more under the radar. I don’t like to be put in this box like I just deal with underground music. The thing is there’s a lot of artists out here that are commercial as far as the type of music they have—you know they have the potential to market themselves as a commercial artist– but they’re not known.

Q:Right.

J: So, I just try to get certain music that’s good quality music; and that’s what I try to put out. I’m not the type of DJ that tries to focus on the music that’s already out there, and that’s known, that’s popular. If it’s in the club, more than likely, you’re not going to really hear that on my CD unless I remix it. When it comes to DJs, I’m more of the creative type of DJ. That’s how I tend to look at myself.

Q: How do you mean that?

J: Of course I like to break new music. I’m not scared to break new music at the club. I’ll play new music. I gotta play new music. My attention span is real short. So the thing is….it’s almost like an addiction, too. When you hear some good music and you hear it for the first time, it creates that euphoria, you know? It’s like, ‘wow, man, I gotta get that feeling again..’ So it’s like when you buy records or you find music, especially when you find something new, this is the whole journey that you take as far as discovery, you find something new. You feel like: “Hey, I discovered this record.” That’s kind of like the connection you get with artists, when you’re a DJ you buy records and just the whole thing, it becomes very personal to you. I don’t know, a lot of DJ’s nowadays, things are so sterile now. All you gotta do is go to iTunes or go to Lime Wire or get a bootleg CD. That’s not the type of music I really deal with. The music I deal with is more like: I have to discover people that are below the radar.

Q; And you do this primarily….

J: ..Once they hear it, people are hooked. The same feeling I get— the other people, who are my listeners, that listen to the mix CDs that I do—they get the same experience. So it’s almost like getting high without drugs.

Q:Riight.

J:It’s the same thing, really. So it becomes, like a viral marketing type of thing. “Afromentals.” The whole thing, it catches on. It becomes just the nostalgia and everybody gets addicted to it. The same way Drama got his stuff. He’s got a good brand with Gangsta Grillz. He deals more with the mainstream type level with the Jay-Z’s and the T.I.’s. That’s the same type of approach I take to the stuff I do.

Q: Do you do artist-specific mixtapes like Drama?

J: I haven’t been working with artists, but I plan on changing that. I’m trying to work more directly with coming out with more exclusive mix CDs where I can deal more with the artist. But, that’s kind of like been a challenge. Creative people, man. They tend to be the worst people to deal with, man. I can say that about myself too, sometimes.

Q: How come?

J: Because they procrastinate, they’re very egotistical, you know? Perfectionists. It’s like, things have to be this way or that way. The grind is so much different when it comes to dealing with this progressive music.

Q: Yeah.

J: I wish it would be more of a thing where people want to hustle more, but it’s just that creative side. Because when it comes to creating, it takes a lot of energy. It’s really an extension of yourself when you’re a creative person. It’s like, you know Andre 3000? He don’t come out with an album or mixtape or all that stuff every six months. It’s a different type of vibe. His stuff is more intuitive, you know what I mean? He has to go inside of himself and pull out from deep in his spririt, like D’ Angelo, cats like that. You just don’t have those records come out every six months.

Q: Why do you think that is? A lot of popular music by performers termed “great” have deep catalogs with 5 or 10 albums.

J: It’s the subject matter. It is. It’s like pollution. It’s just like fast food. You come out and you talk about sex, getting some ass, talk about getting rims, selling drugs and trappin. If you talk’n about that every week that means the same shit and you just recycled the same shit from the last album.

Q: Right.

J: Some people actually grow, but they’ll grow in six albums versus somebody who’ll grow in two albums. You’ll see a change like…I don’t know, I don’t want to mention anybody in particular. When it comes to commercial music the bottom line is sales. It’s the whole structure of it. It’s about sales…whatever we have to do to make a dollar, if there’s a gimmick that has to be involved to make it happen. It’s about building an artist, it’s about making an artist. You make them appear to be like they have talent, but they don’t necessarily have talent. They’re just good at the game. You know what I mean?

Q: Right.

J: When it comes to progressive music, these are people who are like musicians. You have producers like Pete Rock: he rhymes, he produces, he DJs. You know what I mean, they multi-talented? When it comes to other people….it’s like…you know, the next thing you know they getting into acting and stuff like that because that’s the only other thing they can do. If you can get on a stage and rhyme then more than likely you can probably act a little bit. I’m not even mad at the system the way it is, it’s that way for a reason. But all I’m trying to do as a DJ is balance it out. Because you know what? When I play that commercial music that gives me money and I have a job. But my love and what I love to do is the music that fits more my personality and who I am. So really, that’s what Afromentals is…it’s really an extension of who I am and my personality: as far as my values, the morals. You know what I mean? I’m a grown man, I’m 37. I’ve got a daughter that’s 17 and a son that’s 6 years old. Now what would I look like to be up in here with my hat backwards, big-ass, long-ass shirt–coming home with gold teeth in my mouth—out here selling drugs and stuff like that? That’s not the environment for my kids. I’m trying to show them.

Q: You got grown-ass kids, man.

J: That’s the whole reason, it’s just me being who I am. And that’s all it is.

Q: Explain Afromentals a little more.

J: One day I was looking at all these pictures of my aunt and uncles and they had these big-ass afros man. They were just so damn big. So one day I try to grow an afro and man it just wouldn’t work. My hair was too curly.

Q: How old were you when you tried that?

J: Probably 30. It was funny. I was just going through some changes at the time, you know. And I felt like I wanted to start over, so I just let my hair grow. I was like “Man, I’m going to come out with this little CD.” I just actually started mixing CDs. I’d been DJing, but as far as mix CDs, it’s just a different type of game all together when you’re doing mix CDs.

Q: Right

J: Because there’s a structure involved, you know? You have to learn the business side of it. How to hustle. So I wanted to create a brand that was something that had meaning to me. At the time, a lot of chicks had afros back then, it was kind of like the 70s thing was kind of popular in the late 90s. You’d see all these funk and 70s posters and shirts. People wearing afros in the layouts and the magazines. So I was like, “Man, afro is kinda cool.” The music that I like is mental. Its something that helps you think, help you to relax, or has a message. Period.

To me, a mind is always a terrible thing to waste. People never think, never use they mind. My mom used to always tell me, “Think. Think. Think. Think. Think” If I got in trouble or if I do something stupid, she was like “Use you brain, that’s what it’s for.” My sound is like, I just feel like this is gonna be what the music is about; it’s going to be natural. It’s going to be 360 degrees, it’s going to be universal and it’s going to be powerful, because that’s what the afro represents.

And plus, from the prefix of the word ‘African,’ it’s like I’m black, so let it represent who I am. And the mental part of it is hey… I’m trying to feed people. And the nickname’s like the music messanger, you know. I try to deliver the goods as far as the stuff that feels good. It’s all just marketing. I just learned all that stuff in my psychology class. (Laughs)

Q: You went to college?

J: Yeah, in the military I went to the University of Maryland.

Q: Which campus?

J: It was a satellite branch we had in Germany.

Q: UMD in Germany?

J: When you in the military, they have satellite branches that you can go to on base. And they have teachers and everything else.

Believe it or not it’s actually easier to go to school in the military because teachers tend to be more lenient. If you have to go on a tour of duty or if you in the field, you can do the video online classes if you want. It was actually a lot easier to go to school because the classes are a lot smaller too. But the only thing is I DJ so much, so that’s why I really didn’t graduate. But that was my main reason for going into the military, to go to school.

Q: What’s your musical background? What led you to be DJing parties?

J: I played the trumpet. My mother had me taking trumpet lessons when I was 10. I think I lost my interest because I was playing all that white peckerwood stuff. You know, Jingle Bells and all that. I didn’t really get the real history. It didn’t connect with me, it didn’t register. So, it wasn’t who I was at the time, but I was good at it.

TSS: No jazz up in there?

Jamad: My mother was a single mother and she didn’t really put no pressure on me to go to those classes. Maybe if I had father that was there, you know, maybe he woulda balanced it out and be like, “Nah you gonna do this, and do that.” Because my dad really is the one that loves music. And that’s really how my mother and my father met, because he was a good dancer. And he loves music, man.

TSS: And they met in PA?

Jamad: He lives in Easton, PA. And to this day, man, whenever I talk to him he’s always asking me to send him some tapes.

TSS: He’s an old school stepper?

Jamad: Shoot, I haven’t seen him dance, but in his time he probably could do all that stuff, man. My mom said he was light on his feet.

TSS: That’s always a good compliment.

Jamad: And my mom was straight about her books. She was all in her books. So he had to sweep her off her feet. I know, based on how my mom is, my mom don’t play. If it wasn’t for my mom, dude, I don’t know where I would be, man. Because my mom raised me well.

TSS: Were you a knuckle head? Did she have to keep you in line?

Jamad: Nah, not really, because I already knew to stay in line. She put her foot down man. It’s just so hard to be a single parent. Even when I watch my son in the summer, when he comes to stay with me, with my daughter, it’s a lot of responsibility. You almost need the other half to balance things out. From a guy’s perspective we always want to be tough.

TSS: You talk about being tough and all that. It seems like that doesn’t affect you if you’re making mixtapes about loss of a women and things that aren’t following the more pimpish qualities that are pretty heavy in the South. Are you trying to go against that?

Jamad: No, nah. I don’t go against anything. I don’t be trying to preach and save the world. I have my own opinion and I’ll speak on it. If it’s something that I really feel strongly about, I’ll let it be known. But at the same time I’m not trying to force my values on anybody else. But as far as what’s going on in the world today, the only thing I really disagree with is just the structure of the music industry. It’s the fact that most of the artists, they don’t own any of the stuff that they do. And nobody’s really looking out for their best interest. I don’t listen to the radio. So, that’s my form of protest. I’m not going to listen to half of that crap that’s on the radio, because I know it’s garbage. I know that if people had a choice, you know what? If everybody was being all conscious and they were making money being conscious, then that’s what everyone would jump on. But since they can just talk all that craziness about you know: “Drop ya draws.” “I’ll give you head,” and all this other stuff. That’s fine, but I just don’t think that stuff needs to be on the radio.

TSS: But you’re right in the middle of all that stuff.

Jamad: It doesn’t need to be on the radio in the day where kids that are very impressionable can listen to that all day. You know what I mean? And then it’s like they turn on the TV, they see the videos with strippers sliding down poles in the middle of the daytime. I just feel like man, come on. Where’s the values? People just accept that stuff, man. Kids, their highest point where they can get pregnant, especially girls, is in their teens. They’re very fertile in their teens. They can’t even control none of their little feelings. Let all this stuff get in their head. It’s just keeping people stupid. Dumb and blind, man. I have control over what my son, my kids, are going to view. And that’s how I am when it comes to that. As a DJ, you know, I play that stuff. And I like it; I’m a grown man, I can make my own decisions. But overall I feel like a lot of stuff is just reckless. I would like to see more things. Like, I think people should stop exaggerating the whole stuff with how they’re selling drugs. They not doing all this stuff. I wish music was more truthful, you know.

TSS: What about the flipside?

Jamad: If people would express how they really feel in a song? It just needs to be more honesty in the music. That would make the music better overall. Because when it comes down to it, it’s still about the beat of the drum and your heartbeat. That’s the infectious part. You could listen to a song with no lyrics and you don’t really need the lyrics. It’s just the lyrics man. You can add these horrible lyrics to these songs…it’s like “Eeny meeny miney moe, let me go fuck this hoe” and it’s like nursery rhymes.

TSS: That could be a hit right there.

Jamad: And it’s a hit. Now, I ain’t gonna lie, dude, I like Yung Jocc. I like that song. But it’s for what it is. It’s all in fun, but when it comes to raising my kids I don’t want them to be listenin to all that poison. Because it’s poison.

TSS: You say you have a 17-year old daughter and a son.

Jamad: A 6-year-old son. He’s very impressionable. He hears “Laffy Taffy” he thinks it’s like a cartoon song. It’s like “Blues Clues,” you know.

TSS: What’s your thinking about the so-called Snap music movement?

Jamad: I think what’s going on in the South is great. People down here have their own culture. From the accents to the drawl to the dialect. The music itself, the way the music moves, man. It’s amazing, the West has they music, the North has they music, the Midwest, the East. Music is universal, man. So if anybody wants to hate on the South, even though I’m from P.A., I’ll be the first one to tell people stop hatin. It’s not about that. Now when it comes to the content, I’ll talk about content all day when it comes to anybody’s music. If it’s a [rapper] that I like, let’s say it’s Common… if he comes out with a whack song, I’m like yo, that song’s whack. I’m not supporting it. I’ll give you my honest opinion. But when people start getting into this regional stuff..man, everything goes in cycles, man.

TSS: Is it just a fad or a marketing gimmick?

Jamad: Well, when it comes to everybody doing a snap song, that aspect of it is probably a gimmick.

TSS: Is it that distinct from say, crunk?

Jamad: Those are just trends. Those are just terms to try to label something. Really, anything is crunk to me. Crunk is just an expression that they use in the South to describe something…like hyphy, it’s the same expression. It’s the same word. Or, “It’s hot!” It’s just Black folk. You know Black folk, we just make up our words. It’s like patois in America. I don’t think Snap music is a movement. It’s just more of a style at the time. It’s like neo-soul, it’s not a movement. It’s a type of style of music, like R&B. Soul music is a movement. There’s no such thing as neo-soul. There’s no such thing as to me crunk or snap music to me.

TSS: You don’t think D’Angelo and Angie Stone are part of the neo-soul movement?

Jamad: Well…I think it was more of a tribute to artists like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder..Billie Holiday. It was just something that was a trend. People are always trying to create a ‘movement’ out of something, which is garbage.

TSS: That word is thrown around a lot, probably in the last couple of years.

Jamad: Yeah. Even like acid jazz is like..what is ‘acid jazz?’ The line is really not defined when they start to make up audience categories for music. Like house music; but then there’s all these sub-categories of house music, like trance and garage. I don’t like to get too deep when you start trying to label stuff.

TSS: Do you delve into the electro stuff?

Jamad: Yeah. I listen to everything pretty much. Anything that sounds good to my ear.

TSS: Do you dig in the crates?

Jamad: Yeah. All the time. A partner of mine, Gene Brown, he’s a friend of mine from North Carolina, he’s a person that actually was pivotal in a lot of the creation. He’s one of the people that gave me inspiration for a lot of the music I play on my CDs.

TSS: How so?

Jamad: What my CDs reflect are my life. IF you hear music on my CDs, it’s because I heard it from somebody, or I discovered it on my own. OR maybe I listened to a sample in a hiphop song, and I just did a little bit more research on it and got the sample. But a friend of mine Gene Brown, I met him at this Roots concert, Okay Player tour back in 2000, something like that. Basically, I was selling my first hiphop CD. I made an underground CD, like a real hiphop CD, it had Rah Digga on it, DJ Premier, Gangstarr..you know, all kinds of underground artists. East coast type players. I ran into him and we hit it off on account of music. We just talk about music. And when he came in town, I told him “hey, whenever you come in town, dude, you can come crash at my crib, man.” Because he would come and sell records in Atlanta. Man, me an him…man, the knowledge he would give me…it’s just natural man. Just like when you meet friends in college or whatever, you just have a natural relationship. But that became like an influence. It was like a catalyst. The people that I started to associate with would be the people that would actually mold me into what I am today, as far as the whole brand of ‘Afromentals.’ From the people at the record stores, from the people that I would listen to on the radio…that I kind of like looked up to; there’s certain DJs here that I would listen to their show.

TSS: Who do you listen to on radio?

Jamad: [DJ] Jamal Ahkmed is a person that I would listen to locally….

TSS: What stations?

Jamad: They were like college radio stations [Georgia State University, WRAS] 88.5, and [CLARK ATLANTA UNIVERSITY, WCLK] 91.9 … [WRFG –Radio Free Georgia] 89.3 is like an independent station. Those are the stations that are more kind of like geared more toward the public. Their playlist is a lot more flexible as far as being able to play, like more progressive music and stuff like that. When you’re a DJ man, you start off you emulate. Like, I would emulate [DJ] Red Alert, I would emulate DJ Jazzy Jeff or Chuck Chillout, Funk Master Flexx, before [he] even got big. Or Marley Marl, you know … all the New York DJs. You would listen to New York stations back then…or I was listenin to the Philly stations, like Jeff Mills [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pf9Rr5Wrg_c&search=mills] would be like one of the DJs I would listen to, and Cosmic Kev. So, when I listened to those DJs, I would record off the radio. When you’re learning how to DJ, it’s like “OK,” there’s nobody really teaching you how to DJ, so you have to learn how to blend two records together, but from listening to music you start to develop an ear for it. So, I would pretty much, almost kinda like [copy] their DJ session sets. Like if I heard them scratch two records together, I would try to duplicate what they did. And that’s how I learned how to beat match. But Red Alert was a strong influence in my becoming a DJ.

TSS: Boogie Down Production’s DJ Red Alert?

Jamad: Yeah. In the Lehigh Valley [P.A.] we would get the [radio] signal from New York. So we would be driving up the mountains, up the campus of Lehigh [University], we would be at the little lookout, ‘Lover’s Lane,’ or whatever, I forget what they called that spot… above the mountains.

TSS: You would go there specifically to listen to Red Alert?

Jamad: Well, we would be driving around. Like, my uncle would be listenin to the radio all the time, and he used to get a good signal, because he had a cable connection on his stereo. My uncle Andre, he was really the one that was into a lot of music. And he would have all the state of the art turntables and stuff like that with the Pickering needles…the exclusive stuff. I would really look up to him.

TSS: He must have influenced you a lot.

Jamad: He had all the Parliament Funkadelic records. He even had the rock records, he had all the Butch Collins, all that stuff. He was the person that kinda set me up. And then as I became a teenager, it was just natural, like hiphop was the thing back then. If you were a kid and you were rebellious, hiphop was the thing that you could relate to..and breakdancing and popping and all that. So, it’s like it was only natural that I would DJ. I used to listen to the radio every week and record religiously.

TSS: Really, when did you start doing that?

Jamad: I’d say from my first tape recorder, like the kind you take to copy notes in class. I used to record straight off the radio. I think it was [WKTU, New York] ’92 KTU’ was one of the stations I used to be able to pick up back in the early ‘80s. Then I got a boombox. Because when you’re a kid, dude, ain’t nobody buying you no boombox. A boombox was like $150. I wasn’t priveledged like that. My mom couldn’t afford that. Then eventually I moved up and I got a little job, 14-15, I got a paper route and I got a nice little radio, and I used to get better reception. Then when I’d go visit my aunt in Philly, of course I was right in Philly, I would get the reception like nuthin. I used to just want to go down there just to record off the radio. I mean, I used to be a fanatic about recording off the radio. I knew what time the shows come on. So, if we were anywhere I made sure I was in the house recording. It was that serious.

TSS: What are the name of some shows you were obsessed with?

Jamad: Mr. Magic and Marley Marl…you had Kiss-FM, which was Red Alert. But Kiss-FM..What is Kiss now, it’s Hot 97? Power 99 used to be in Philly and also WDAS 105.3 in Philly, they used to have the mixes on the weekend. And I used to listen to that live from the club, and that was way before I could even go out to the club. WDAS was more like the soulful station. They would play Teddy Pendergrass. Then you had Power 99 was more like the big station, they had a radio show called something ‘with Lady B.’ It used to come on from 1-3. Straight out of church, man, I used to be going straight home to record. On Sunday they had a hiphop show. And this is when they had hiphop shows. It was such an awesome experience. And they don’t even have that nowadays; they play that garbage all day, man. Something like what I do, man, there’s no reason why you can’t have a special show dedicated to just reggae or whether it be house music, or whether it be neee-o soul, whatever you wanna call that stuff. It’s like you can have programming like that, man, and it wouldn’t hurt the numbers, man. It could only help the industry overall.

TSS: But that’s satellite format, right?

Jamad: My Sirius satellite show is more…since I’m on a hip-hop channel [HipHop Nation, Ch. 40], my show tends to be influenced by the hiphop a little bit more versus more soulful, smooth-type stuff. I tend to play a little more like Ghostface or I’ll be playing MC Eiht. You know? I like to focus on stuff that sounds good and stuff that people forget especially.

TSS: Like Trends of Culture?

Jamad: Yeah, yeah. I’ll play just about anything to be honest with you. I’ll play anything from T.I., but it’ll be the album songs on T.I., it won’t be like something that they play in the club that’s just a commercial track. My focus more on the music is more from a soulful type of sound. So, if Jeezy got some soulful tracks or if he got some tracks with some samples in it, I’m gonna play that versus something that just sound like a little jingle. I’m not gonna play that stuff because it’s overplayed. It’s no challenge for me. I gain nothing from it, because you hear it all the time.

TSS: How long have you been doing the Sirius program?

Jamad: A year and a half.

TSS: How did they contact you for that?

Jamad: Actually, my manager from the Aphiliates, she hooked that up. She got me a job.

TSS: Are you the only member with a satellite show?

Jamad: No. Don Cannon, Sense, Drama and Jaycee do “Streets is Watching” on Shadey 45 and I do the ‘Afromentals’ mix show on Hiphop Nation.

TSS: That’s pretty dope that you turned you mixtape series into a radio show.

Jamad: Yeah. The thing I like to mention is…dude, I wouldn’t be nowhere if it wasn’t for the people that support the music.

TSS: Who’s your audience?

Jamad: My audience is probably people 25 and up. I have a strong fanbase with people that are like professionals, working or college graduates. I think when you’re younger, people tend to be more focused on what the hype is all about. But most of the people that support me strong are people that grew up fans of the golden-age of hiphop. When it comes to create’n music, you’ll listen to the type of music that’s on the radio versus when you hear musicians..they deal with different types of keyboards and stuff like that. It’s comparing a Ford to a BMW….a Ford is mass production. That’s how I look at commercial music, it’s just mass production. There’s only a few songs that make it out. It’s almost like when you see somebody driving a Mustang from like 1998 and it’s still in good shape. It’s like “Damn, I remember that car, I’m surprised you still got it.” So, if somebody breaks out a TLC record, it’s like, “Oh, okay, that song was kinda hot.” But you’re not going to break out more than one of their songs. But then it comes to someone like MC Eiht, I’m on this West Coast-type of thing now, with like Too $hort..Above the Law, all them cats that were kind of like slept on, I’m like into that. Ice Cube, Lynch Mob, all that older stuff. I’m like on that stuff right now, because when you listen to that stuff, that stuff was the shit. But it was actually underrated, it was kind of overlooked. NWA was really the thing that most people remember, that was really big, that really broke through. But when you listen to a lot of that other stuff, man, like MC Eiht; dude was hot. That dude was slept on as far as I’m concerned. That dude had crazy flow. That dude was on some real shit.

TSS: What about him struck you?

Jamad: That dude was just on some real shit. To me, it’s like them dudes from Compton they just as real as it gets, man. They’re like the essence… of like, when it comes to their music, what they be talking about man, it just seems so authentic. It is authentic, the way they come across. These dudes actually have skills, man. And when they be rhyming…you hear the music, the samples they be using. If you listen to the MC Eiht stuff and then you listen to the stuff nowadays, it’s really just as hot, man. Like T.I. or say….I don’t know, there are not too many artists, to me…they’re good, but their not saying nuthin. The content could be better.

TSS: So MC Eiht is one of your favorite rappers?

Jamad: Everything about that dude was on point. That dude was the truth. Even Too Short, that stuff was just raw man; even to a drum machine. Dude has not changed. He’s just true to who he is. You just don’t have that many people around like that. Like M.O.P…you don’t want to hear M.O.P singing. It just seems so weird nowadays with the way music be coming out. It’s like you get an album, it’s hot, then you get the next album and it’s all these collabos..I don’t want to hear that crap, man. I want to hear you..I don’t want all these gimmicks, I don’t want all these different artists to be on here…like Ciara, and you got a booty-shake track, then you got your R&B track, then you gotta have a double-time track, then you gotta have a crunk track. Come on, man. When you listen to EPMD, you know what you were getting, when got LL Cool J you know what you were getting, even with Das EFX you know what they were doing. Nowadays it kind of bothers me because when I hear Jeezy, I want to hear ‘Jeezy,’ I don’t want to hear someone who sounds like Jeezy. I heard some female rapper and she was rhyming like Jeezy! Let that dude be him.

Jamad: It’s just so whack nowadays. Being creative to me is important. I want you to be an extension of who you are as a person. It don’t matter if you’re corny, sometimes corny shit is good, too.

TSS: What connects all the music that you use in your work?

Jamad: Certain songs based on how they’re arranged will make the song seem like it’s moving slower or moving faster. So, the main thing is if I have a concept for how I want to do a CD, it’s like trying to make a movie pretty much. You try to have an intro, always try to do introductions for a CD, then there’s a body, then it’s usually a climax, then there’s usually a conclusion. Even when I mix my parties I usually play a lot of new stuff that I don’t know. So, I use that almost like a scratch piece of paper or a canvas.


Photo via rappersiknow.com

Miami Heat

It was a  hot August in N.Y.C. Like 90 degrees, with an extra 5 degrees of thick humidity slathered on top. I’m trying to get my professional on and not wear shorts to class. But damn it’s hard. I’m not a stinky guy, but I sweat a lot. Multiple showers help.

I’m taking a break from the regular news cycle and hyper-local coverage that’s grinding me down at the moment. I feel like the luckiest cat, really.

Working with so many sound and picture files, and transferring them to professor laptops for class critiques has made me break out old thumb-drives I haven’t used before. On one (literally), I found notes from a piece I did for the Source magazine back in 2007.

It was a transcript from a conversation I had with Luther Campbell. The story was on cursing in hip-hop. Remember that non-controversy? At this point in my celebrity interviewing career, I was still finding myself. I wonder why I didn’t write out the entire transcript. Well, from what I remember, Uncle Luke was so erudite that I just let him monologue until I had enough. I think I also got to talk to Too Short for this piece. I hope I find that transcript somewhere, too.

For anyone who hasn’t heard of Luther Campbell or listened to a 2 Live Crew album (check the video above), let this mini- Q&A be your guide:

Luke: The way  I look at it is any time there’s a presidential election is when everybody use hiphop as a scapegoat. And the first thing that they do is they look at the whole lyrics situation, you know? They attack hiphop for lyrics and all that. It’s like this: because hiphop don’t have no bonafied leaders in it, and all the leaders is selling the soul of hiphop, you know what I’m saying, and they just selling it for profit. We needed to be attacked.

Until we get  a true bonafied leader in the hiphop business, and at that point we can then move on in the right direction. When these kinds of issues come up [cursing in lyrics] we will have somebody representing us truly, and not for the dollar.  People like Russell Simmons and all them, they don’t truly represent the artform, in my opinion. They sell the soul of the artform. And so they’ll go get those usual suspects and they’ll have these conversations with them about lyrics, and then if it’s for some kind of profit behind it…. You know, up on Oprah; to sell hiphop down the river, where we all as hiphop artists said we boycotting Oprah. They up on Oprah, cross the line, fucking boycott.

We need a leader.  It’s everybody’s fault, it ain’t these big individuals who run around here selling this shit, keeping it awake. It’s everybody involved, because the magazines put certain muthafuckas on the cover, the TV put certain motherfuckers on the cover.

These magazine’s, these TVs, they keep glorifying these niggas who’s selling the business down the river, and they put them on the cover and then they put them on the TV, and nobody knows that they full of shit.

Q: You’ve been dealing with this shit since day one, has any of this changed at all. Hiphop lyrics?

LUKE: It’s the same thing. I ain’t no different than 20 years ago, it’s the same thing. It ain’t no different than 20 years ago. Hiphop lyrics saying the same thing. I mean, when was the last election? Think about this here, you know who they was talking about in the last election? They was talking about Eminem.

If you really think about this shit, every presidential election hiphop comes under fire.

And before Eminem, it was me.
Keep going four years, now we at another fucking presidential election.  It’s always a fucking pattern.

And you know who profits? They gonna get Russell, they gonna get Benjamin Chavis, they gonna get Puffy; and they take Puffy down to the Republican convention ,and they parade him and the other niggas up around there. Nobody says this,  I’m looking at this man on TV at the Republican Convention.
Come on man, let’s be realistic, I ain’t read that shit nowhere. I had to look and  see that shit on “Hannity and Combs.”  If I ain’t sit here looking at that shit on CNN, CNBC and FOX, I don’t know what’s going on.

What do you think about the lyrics in hiphop? You started this whole shit. Yeah, I know what I started, but then I know at the same time it’s deeper than this. We ain’t nothing but pawns in the game, man they use us. They gonna crucify us, then you know what they gonna do? Cut a deal with Russell and Puffy, then they gonna go out and say..

The bottom line is this: The PDs, you know, they put the music on. That’s who put the music on. The people at the TV stations, that’s  who put the videos on.  Ask me a question, I don’t think “I’m a Freak” should be played on the radio.  Because when I made the record “Throw the Dick”, which legally can be played on the radio, I made the song “Throw the D,” because I don’t want my daughter, I don’t want nobody’s daughter, riding around in the back seat of the car singing shit they don’t know what they singing about, when it’s a bad word. I don’t want that. Really it’s the PD and the video people.

If the song got a word in it, go back into the studio and flip that shit around. That’s how you clean it up.

I ain’t here to be saying you can’t say freak. You can say freak, you can say pussy, you can say dick, you can say ho, you can say nigga, you can say all them words that you want to say. You can put them on records, but that shit not be played on the radio. Don’t put no ho the radio, don’t put bitch on there. PD don’t put that on the radio.

It’s not the artists fault, it’s not the record company’s fault, it’s not my fault, it’s the fault of the PD because he regulates what gets played on the radio.

I created the Parental Advisory sticker. That sticker is on there for a reason. I never intended, nor does any artists every intend for kids to get this music.

The artist ain’t the problem because all we doing is talking what the hell is going on in society, there’s some freaks there’s some hoes, there’s some bitches and some niggas in society. So don’t bother with us talking about changing no words.

Palestinian Music Doc, Moyenei at Foro Alicia Tonight [OCT.09/Preview] [Full Text Interview w/ Moyenei]

Picture of Moyenei taken from Foro Alicia poster.
Picture of Moyenei taken from Foro Alicia poster.

Tonight the Foro Alicia gets all socio-political again. Moyenei will be on hand along with Roco to support a documentary screening by Basque rocktavist-filmmaker Fermin Muguruza. He’ll present his documentary “Check Point Rock: Songs of Palestinian.” Completed in 2005, its finally getting a world tour and making the rounds of Mexico City as part of the Docs DF screening series.

About the film:

“[It] moves from Palestinian cities, villages and camps to the neon lit streets of Tel Aviv recording the ways that “music hits the walls” of Palestinian society as it negotiates occupation. “

link

For more on “Check Point Rock“:

The Artist:
Palestinian Rapperz
DAM (Da Arab MCs)

The Director:
Fermin Muguruza

SCREENING TONIGHT, THURSDAY:

Multiforo Alicia: CUAUHTEMOC 91-A, 55112100; Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; $90 pesos

If you’ve never heard of Moyenei, don’t worry, I’ll help you out. She’s the only rapping, soul singing, rasta, reggaetonera I’ve ever heard of.

Moyenei Valdes can be loosely compared with Lauren Hill in her prime: wickedly wise and talented beyond reproach, with a commitment to her people through her art.

Her life was disrupted by injustice at an early age when her father was murdered in her native Chile under the Pinochet regime. You can read about it, here.

I had the chance to interview Moyenei via email for an article in the current issue of Latina magazine. She helped develop the female rap scene in Mexico City when she brought the idea of Rimas Femininas to town. A successful run of shows turned sour after some infighting that involved Niña Dioz.

This is my first shot at a bilingual Q&A. I hope you learn something:

What is your heritage?

M: Soy Afro-Chilena
I’m Afro Chilean

Mi padre era nieto de Alemanes y Mi Madre es Afro Chilena. mi estilo tiene que ver con la mezcla de razas de mi Sangre.soy latina, una mezcla de Varias culturas. Soy Meztiza

My father is grandson of Germans and my mother is Afro-Chilean. My stile has to do with the mixture of both races of my blood line. I am latina, a mixture of various cultures. I am Mestiza.

¿Cuando y como comenzó tu carrera en México?
Translation How and when did you start your career in Mexico?

Llegue a mexico en 2006 para dar unos conciertos durante un mes y posterior mente tuve que quedarme durante 3 meses para desarrollar 2 proyectos musicales y continuar Girando en el pais. luego de 5 meses volvi a regresar para dar una segunda gira, avarcando desde la frontera mexicana hasta guatemala . decidi en el 2007 radicarme definitivamente en mexico, convertirme en migrante junto a mis 2 hijos.

I came to Mexico in 2006 to do some concerts in one month, then I has to stay three months to develop some musical projects and to continue doing my rounds in the country. Then after five months i returned to do a 2nd tour, touching/touring from the border with Mexico and Guatemala. I decided in 2007 to stay definitely in Mexico, and to become an immigrant with my 2 children.

¿Cuando y cómo veniste a México?

When and how did you arrive in Mexico?

M: Llegue casi por casualidad no tenia muy planeado este Rumbo. pero casualmente tenia unos pasajes de Regalo que tenia que ocupar antes del fin de 2006, asi que decidi generar una gira auto producida para dar a conocer mi trabajo, y gratamente vi que mi propuesta estaba generando mucho que hablar, es decir, no existian propuestas musicales similares, que mezclaran la voz femenina , melodia y Soul con Rap y Dance hall Reggae.
y por lo mismo mucha gente lo vio como algo muy nuevo dentro de la musica Urbana tradicional en Mexico.

I came here almost by chance. This was not my plan. But it happened that I had some free airplane tix that I had to use before the end of 2006. So I self produced a tour to get my work known and thankfully I saw that my proposal was generating lots of talk, clarily, there were no music projects that were similar, that were mixing the femenine voice, melody and soul with rap and dance hall reggae. And that’s why so many people saw it as something new within the Urban Traditional music in Mexico.

Comparando la escenas raperas de ambos paises, ¿Cuáles son las diferencias y similitudes entre ellas?

Comparing both rap scenes in both countries. What are the diferences or similarities?

M: Realmente no existe mucha similitud en la escena del rap y la Musica Urbana, de mexico y chile, paradojicamnte chile esta mucho mas lejos de Estados Unidos,( la cuna del hip-hop) que Mexico. pero fue a principios de los 80 que en chile existia ya un un movimiento poderoso de graffiteros y Brake dancers pero sobre todo de raperos que estaban enfocados a trabajar con el Rap, como herramienta de conciencia y Lucha, en momentos que la dictadura Militar encarcelaba y desaparecia a miles de chilenos.
este moviento dejo una Escuela desde entonces, y podriamos decir que en chile hay mas de 2 decadas de Rap que a su vez a procreado a grandes exponentes Tanto Hombres como Mujeres. mientras que la esecna mexicana estaba cubierta un poco por un prejuicio social bastante grande y con pocos espacios para el desarrollo de este.
aun asi me sorprendio gratamente que en el año que llegue a mexico , la gente…el Publico estaba sediento de mas Rap , de mas contenido, de mas mensaje social, para su pais y su futuro.

Really there’s not much similarity in the rap or Urban Music scene of Mexico; Chile, paradoxically Chile is much furhter away from the USA (the birth place of hip hop) than MExico. Fue it was at the beginning of the 80s the in Chile there was a very powerful movement of grafiteros and Brake Dancers but specially rappers that were focusing their work and working on Rap, has a tool of consciousness and struggle, at a time when the military dictatorship was inprisoning thousands of Chileans.This movement marked a trend since then, and we could say that in Chile there’s more than 2 decades of rap that at the same time it has procreated big stars both men and women. While the scene in Mexico was hidden a bit because of the huge social prejudice and with few places for its develoment. Even as it was, it was nice that the year I arrived in Mexico, the people, the public was thirty for more rap, with more content, with more social message, por its county and its future.

Tuviste apoyo de la prensa durante Rimas Femininas. ¿Que piensas al respecto?
You had the support of the press with Rimas Femeninas. What do you think about that?

Rimas Femeninas sobre la tarima, es un proyecto que comienza en chile en el año 2005 desendiendo de otros existos proyectos enfocados exclusivamente a crear espacios para el desarrollo y la promocion del Hip-hop hecho por mujeres.
en diferentes viajes estuve aplicando ese concepto con gran exito, generando eventos y compilados musicales con Featurings de destacadas mujeres Rimadoras.
en mi llegada a Mexico tuve la sensacion de que era fundamental generar este espacio devido a las caracteristicas sociales con respecto a los espacios para la mujer.
como siempre comienzo a investigar sobre la ecena femenina local, y me doy cuenta que si existian varias exponentes pero que nunca antes se habia pensado en la posibilidad de juntar a estos talentos y ponerlos a trabajar en un proyecto social que abriera mas espacios y diera una mirada profunda al trabajo de las rimadoras jovenes de Mexico. Por su puesto que este tema llamo la atencion de toda la escena incluyendo ala prensa y el publico, por que en el año 2007 era la primera vez que el Hip-hop en mexico escuchaba algo asi como ES EL TURNO DE LAS MUJERES….

Rimas Femeninas on Stage, was a project that started in Chile in 2005 coming from other successful projects focused exclusively to create spaces for the development and the promotion of hip hop by women. In different trips I took I was aplying the same concept with great success, generating events and setting up musicals with Featuring outstanding female rhymers. When I got to Mexico I have the feeling that it was fundamental to generate this space given the social characteristics with respect to spaces for women. As always I investigate the local female scene and I realized that there were past singers but that they had never thought about joining all those talents and having them work on a social project to open more spaces and that would take a deep look at the young Mexican rhymers. Ofcourse this caught the attention of the entire scene including the press and the public. Because in 2007 it was the first time that Mexican HIp Hop heard something like this as was ITS THE WOMEN’S TURN.

¿Porqué razón no tuviste grupo por mucho tiempo?
What was the reason you did not have a group for such a long time?

M: Este proyecto duro desde finales del 2006 hasta mediados de el 2008, durante ese proceso , se generaron mas de 20 conciertos y entrevistas, con la construccion de varias paginas webs y la produccion y grabacion de Musica que fuera parte testimonial de este proyecto.
es muy dificil trabajar en estas tematicas, ya que como no existen espacios ni referentes anteriores es muy comun que existan confusiones y problemas de aceptacion entre la diersidad de Chikas que conforman el Grupo.
es lo que mayoritariamente se ve en proyectos de mujeres, ese decir, competitividad por querer abarcar la atencion de la escena para sobresalir en un mundo exclusivamente masculino.
en lo personal he visto esto en varios paises y experiencias. y creo que fue eso justamente lo que mermo la finalidad de Rimas Femeninas: la desesperacion de ver que existen nuevos talentos que talvez puedan llamar mas la atencion de el publico que gente que ya estaba posicionada como ¨LA UNICA RAPERA MUJER ¨de la escena.

This project lasted from the end of 2006 to the middle of 2008, during a process, where more than 20 concerts were generated and interviews, with the construction of several web pages and the production and recording of music that was part of the testimonial of this project. It’s very difficult to work with this themes, since there are no spaces and no prior references is very common that there’s confusion and acceptance problems between the girls that make part of a group. Is the most common thing you see in girl groups, competitiveness wanting to grab the attention on stage to be successful in a purely masculine world. I have personally seen this in many countries and thru many experiences. I think that is exactly what cut the end of the Rimas Femeninas: The desperation to see that there were other new talents and that perhaps they would call more the public attention and that there were people already in positions as the ONE AND ONLY FEMALE RAPPER, on the scene/stage.

¿Cómo te recibió la escena rapera aqui y como conciste a Ximbo y Jezzy P? ¿Quiénes fueron tus primeros contactos? ¿Quien te ayudo?

How did the rapping scene welcome you here? How did you meet Ximbo & Jezzy P? Who were your first contacts? Who helped you?

M: Solo mostre lo que hago, llevo 13 años haciendo musica , componiendo y Rimando y por supuesto que eso es lo mas importante y eso es lo que resalta al momento de oir una propuesta musical, creo que eso fue lo que me represento, la calidad del trabajo que mostre , la gente me recivio muy bien, mi curriculum habla de mis experiencias exitosas para con los proyectos femeninos asique pienso que eso hizo que se abrieran muchas puertas. Soy investigadora y me dedico a buscar para encontrar , nadie me AYUDO propiamente tal. si no mas bien con insistencia y averiguaziones pude generar una RED para hechar a andar esta propuesta femenina. A Ximbo la conoci por internet al igual que Jezzy, buscando justamente los referentes locales de Rap Femenino. Buscando tambien la calidad y la trayectoria de mujeres mexicanas que estuvieran involucradas en esto.
me costo mucho convencerlas de iniciar un trabajo en colectivo, ellas tenian la desconfianza de no haber hecho nunca algo asi. era algo inedito.
pero al poco tiempo se dieron cuenta que formar parte de esto seria Historico en el Hip-hop local.

I only showed what I do, I have been doing this for 13 years doing music, composing and rhyming and of course that is the most important and that is what jumps (out at you) at the time you hear the musical piece. I think that is what represented for me, the quality of the work that I demonstrated. The people welcomed me very well, my curriculum speaks of my successful experiences with feminine projects. Therefore I think that’s what helped to open many doors. I’m an investigator and I focus on finding something new, nobody helps me in that aspect. It’s more with persistence and investigations that I was able to generate a network to start to roll this feminine project. Ximbo I met via the internet the same as with Jezzy, precisely because I was looking for the local references of the female rap scene. Looking also for quality and trayectory of Mexican women who were involved int his. It took a lot to convince them to start this work together as a group, they did not trust this because they had never done anything like this. It was something incredible. But little by little they realized that to take part in something like this was historic for the local Hip-hop.

¿Y la idea de formar Rimas femininas?
¿Porqué contactaron a Niña Dioz?

And the idea to form Rimas Femeninas? Why did you contact Niña Dioz?

M: La idea me pertenece al igual que el nombre y la forma de llevar a cavo el proyecto, vinculando a artistas visuales y Rimadoras en un proyecto social que genere curiosidad y espacios para mostrar nuestro arte con dignidad y calidad.
niña dioz es una de las mas destacadas raperas mexicanas , asique era evidente que el colectivo iba a requerir de su participacion, por que era muy nesesario tener diversidad sonora, y de todo tipo, para decirle ala escena que veniamos a recuepar los espacios negados durante años, con calidad y diversidad.
a niña dioz la conoci tambien por interner en esta investigacion durante fines del 2006.
ella no se dedicaba a la musica asike tube que convencerla que participara haciendole ver que pronto veria los resultados en su carrera y en la promocion de esta.

The idea was mine the same as the name and way/form of carrying out the project. Connecting visual artists, and rhymers in a social project to generate curiosity and spaces to show our art with dignity and quality. Niña dioz is an outstanding Mexican rapper, so it was evident that the group was going to need her participation , because it was necessary to have diversit in the sound/musical diversity, of all kinds, to tell the scene that we were coming to recuperate spaces that had been denied during many years, with quality and diversity.
I met Niña Dioz also via the interner during this investigation towards the end of 2006. She was not focusing on the music so I had to convince her to participate making her see that she would soon see the results in her career and how this would be highlighted.

Niña Dioz me dijo que tuvo problemas con el grupo. ¿Que quizo decir con eso?

Niña Dioz told me she had problems in the group? What did she mean by that?

M: Pues en ese momento fue cuando yo decidi dejar de trabajar con ese grupo en particular de personas, por que al no ser de aqui no puedo entrar a competir por espacios para nosotras mismas en la escena local.
debo mantenerme al margen de disputas internas.
eso ocurrio, pienso que para algunas de las chicas que llevavan mas tiempo rapeando fue muy duro ver que nuevos talentos les estaban arrebatando el TRONO de ser las UNICAS Mujeres raperas de Mexico.
y en el caso de niña dioz ella dio mucho que hablar por que su propuesta es tambien muy novedosa y muy cercana ala Industria, con letras desenfadas y un sonido muy nuevo. algo que causaba mucha contrversia dentro de Rimas ya que algunas de las personas dentro no estaban de acuerdo en tenerla en el colectivo devido a su exito destacado entre todas las participantes.
surgio una pugna de la cual no kize formar parte, pensando en que nuestra actitud deve ser la de abrir espacios para todas sin discriminacion y dando un ejemplo para las demas chavas que vienen tras nosotras y no de mostrar nuestras inseguridades como psi estas fueran mas importantes que el unico fin de trabajar para todas y por todas.

Well at that moment it was when I decided to stop working with this particular group of people, because not being from here I could not come in and start competing for spaces for us in the same local scene. local. I need to stay out of local disputes. That happened, I think because for some of the girls that had some time rapping it was hard to see that new talent was taking away their pedestal/crown as the ONLY female rappers in Mexico. And in the case of Niña Dioz she created lots of attention because her expression/singingn gave lots to talk about because it was very new and it was very close to the industry, with lose/relax lyrics and a new sound. Something that was creating a lot of controversy within the Rimas/Rhymers because many of the people on the inside were not in favor of having her in the group given her outstanding success among all the participants. So a fight erupted which I did not want to get involved in, thinking that our attitude should one to open spaces for all without discriminating and giving an example/serving as role models to the rest of the girls/chavas/girls who will follow us and not to show our insecurities as if this was more important than working by and for all of us.

2009/8/27